When I was a kid, I wasn't up on a Saturday morning watching cartoons while eating fruit loops. Instead, like many Tamil children, I was usually half asleep trying to learn the language that I first learned to speak. I didn't hate going to Tamil school because I missed out on cartoons. I think I hated going because it was a hard language to learn.
At the banquet of life, each language is another course. The better you can use languages, your own and others, the more you can enjoy the feast. At least that has been my experience. I have achieved varying degrees of fluency in 16 languages, and look forward to learning more. To me, there are three stages of language acquisition.
In politics, opportunity arises from some strange circumstances. Elizabeth May has put herself in the Hall of Fame of quotable quotes from inside the Houses of Parliament. And now, MP Rempel might just make some money on it.
Vacations are fabulous opportunities to immerse ourselves in new cultures and experiences. However, with more than 4,000 languages spoken around the world, communication remains a constant barrier for those who are not multilingual.
A couple of insignificant words shouldn't matter much, but to me, it meant a lot. Forgetting a few words meant having awkward, half-formed conversations with my parents. It meant feeling alienated from an ethnic community that was strongly bound by a common language. Most importantly, it meant losing an inherent part of my Vietnamese identity. Each time I forgot another word, it was like I was a little less Vietnamese.
Although I've lived essentially my whole life here and received my Canadian citizenship in kindergarten, not having a Canadian birth certificate separates me from second-gen Canadians. At the same time, I don't have vivid memories of growing up anywhere else, like my parents and other first-gen Canadians. Sometimes, I feel like generation 1.5.
In 1997 I went to the West Bank to study Arabic. Once there, I found that many of the students in the program were, like me, half Palestinian, and were there as part of an attempt to discover their roots. Before I left, I hadn't thought much about how language defines who we are, or what happens when the languages we use to build our identities are rendered useless.
The importance of a large vocabulary in your target language can't be overstated. Some are convinced we can converse quite comfortably with just a few hundred words. There are lots of articles on the topic. I don't agree.
Have you ever tried fooling a dog into getting excited for the wrong thing? Perhaps testing their instincts by offering something boring to the tune of a tasty treat? It turns out that while they may very well be excited by the amped up sound of your voice, they are most likely on to your trick.
Have you ever tried to have an important conversation with someone but felt like they just didn't understand you? Then you